Only a few times in our 100 years in business have we had the opportunity to own paintings by the famed Belle Époque painter, James Jacques Tissot. His recognizable images of stylishly dressed women of leisure are commanding ever higher prices at auction, and we were fortunate to buy this painting, after years of pursuing it.
Jeune Femme a’ l’Eventail is a study of a young woman dressed in 18th century period costume, seated in a park, coquettishly holding a fan near her face. Typical of Tissot’s women, this painting displays profound attention to light in the lush landscape of the park and to the soft details of the woman’s clothes. Our eyes are naturally drawn to the splayed fan – one of Tissot’s favorite props – which adds to the flirtatious nature of the painting.
Tissot’s paintings so often tell a story, and this painting is rich in details with the painter’s love of theatrics. The dramatic striped dress so expertly rendered on this model is one he used in several works. Tissot bought these costumes at local second-hand markets to suit the tastes of his patrons, who preferred portraits in 18th century dress. Even the fan reveals a secret language of women, in this case, that of a coy young woman. The model may be recognizable to Tissot collectors as she was one of his favorite subjects and is featured in several of his paintings.
As our research department delved into the history of the painting, they found it published in three important Tissot books. We were delighted! We also found other paintings that included the same model and the same dress.
This is one of the most exciting paintings we have ever had, so if you are in the New Orleans area, I invite you to come see its beauty in person.